Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Battle of Kimluck: Anime Review

Orphen’s second season is, arguably, a lot more focused than its first. That, unfortunately, doesn’t stop the show from tripping over its own feet when it comes to the world-building of the setting. In particular, it’s where the mythology of the setting is concerned, especially related to the organization known as the “Kimluck Church.”

Key visual for Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Battle of Kimluck, featuring most of the show's cast.

The narrative focuses on Orphen as he follows after Azalie, who has taken an interest in the Kimluck church, and is going to investigate where they are based. The revelations over the course of this series will have dramatic reveals related to the fundamental core of the world, and will have the fate of the continent at stake. Which really all gets down to the fundamental problems of this series.

The mythology of Orphen, as presented in the anime, has been something of a mess. We have godlike beings called “Deep Dragons”, which don’t actually look like dragons (with one in particular, Fenrir and their child form, Leki, being dogs), but others who look humanoid. There are goddesses who want to wipe out all life on the continent for… The Reason, and who are worshipped by the Kimluck Church – which has a level of dignity, respect from various political entities, actual financial and religious power that you wouldn’t expect from an organization that is basically the Cthulhu Cult.

Look, I don’t expect cosmic entities to work on the same level of logic as humans. I’m well versed in cosmic horror. However, it’s an in-universe open secret that the Kimluck church is up to no good, and is basically a glorified death religion, so it seems really odd that a church that worships an omnicidal deity has enough political leverage to not be targeted by various foreign powers who would rather they not continue with their plans, if only because this continent is where they live and keep their stuff.

Similarly, related to the whole “Deep Dragons” thing – when you are using a real world word in a fantasy setting, even if the thing isn’t exactly the same as the IRL concept, you should be using that word to draw a connection between the reader and the concept’s in-universe counterpart. If you call something a “pine tree” then even if it isn’t an actual pine tree, you are connecting it to real-world trees with needles. If you then say it has leaves and reproduces via spores, and doesn’t get above waist high – you’re not describing a pine tree anymore, you’re describing a fern.

The Deep Dragons described in the setting probably have closer parallels to the Titans of Greek mythology, even if they have a variety of forms related to other mythologies as well (Fenrir and Norse mythology, for example). However, nope, we’re calling them Dragons. Why? Because shut up. And because of this, whenever discussion of the deep dragons comes up in the setting – and they come up a lot this season, my intent to follow the plot skips a groove, because I have to re-parse information, to remind myself that the Deep Dragons aren’t actually literal dragons.

This all makes the plot for this season tremendously hard to follow, particularly week to week – which leaves to the character moments which… aren’t great either. Orphen has a weird bit of PTSD after he kills a character (which is valid cause for PTSD), but his recovery is incredibly sudden, and seemingly complete. Also, Azalie’s motivations are also rather awkward – especially considering how Childman relates to the plot and Azalie’s role in his death, and the deaths of several members of the Childman class.

I’ve started reading the novels, and some of this may be rectified in the books, just due to the difference in presentation.

Orphen: The Battle of Kimluck, was released for streaming by Funimation and is available there.

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